Title: Strawberries for Dessert
Series: Coda Books, Book 4
Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: August 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
When Jonathan Kechter agrees to a blind date with Cole Fenton, he expects nothing more than dinner and a one-night stand... but he gets more than he bargained for in Cole. Cole is arrogant, flamboyant, and definitely not Jon’s type. Still, when Cole suggests an arrangement of getting together for casual sex whenever they're both in town, Jon readily agrees.
Their arrangement may be casual, but Jonathan soon learns that when it comes to Cole Fenton, nothing is easy. Between Cole’s fear of intimacy and his wandering lifestyle, Jonathan wonders if their relationship may be doomed from the start—but the more Cole pushes him away, the more determined Jon is to make it work.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Good romance with a troubled lead I grew to like. This isn’t my favorite romance of the series but it’s still a better than average MM romance.
The Set Up: Jonathan is a workaholic who agrees to a blind date with Cole Fenton. Cole isn’t Jon’s type: flamboyant, loud, and unabashedly gay. The two agree to a casual sexual relationship but Jon isn’t sure that’s enough for him.
Why I Read this Book: My guru for MM romance @Samanthacycles suggested I not skip this addition to the Coda Books series even though I didn’t love the leads when they had secondary roles in the previous books. I’m glad I followed my sensei’s direction!
What I Liked: This author doesn’t rush romances. She allows them to organically develop so that the men find a relationship which works for them. I love this because it allows for such emotional intensity in the erotic romance. Cole and Jonathan’s sexual relationship is described very briefly when they’re just fuckbuddies but then becomes more graphic as their emotional connection is developed. I don’t know if I’ve read this executed so well in a romance and loved this book for the deeply intertwined sexual and emotional romance.
What I Also Liked: I also loved Jonathan’s relationship with his father and how this slowly transforms to include Cole. I won’t spoil how this is all accomplished but I love that Jonathan’s father is such a big part of his life, even with all their difficulty accepting each other. Cole’s interaction with Jonathan’s father was simultaneously cringe-worthy and heartfelt. I love this addition to the romance as it showcases different parts of Cole and Jonathan to each other and readers.
What I Didn’t Like: I get why the romance had to have a blow up scene when Jonathan confronts Cole about his flamboyant ways but it didn’t make me ache any less for Cole. Cole has a few times when he won’t let his walls down for Jonathan and while I understood that too, it was still difficult to read. These two men aren’t perfect and they hurt each other and themselves often but it makes their journey to romance undeniably bittersweet.
IMO: Series readers must read this romance and will love it as I did. Since these characters are only loosely connected to the others in the series, even non-series readers can enjoy this romance.